City of Sydney could cut ties with companies linked to Israel

City of Sydney could cut ties with companies linked to Israel
Image: Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore (AAP Image/James Gourley)

by SYDNEY BALDWIN

 

The City of Sydney is looking into banning suppliers and investments from companies linked to Israel in a renewed push from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

On Monday night, council voted on a historic motion that called on the council to prepare a report on their investment policy regarding “companies involved in, or profiting from, any human rights violations including the illegal occupation of the settlements in Palestinian territories and the supply of weapons”.

The report seeks to “ensure that Council is not purchasing from companies involved in weapons on human rights abuses”, including the 97 companies which are currently named by the United Nations as having, “directly or indirectly, enabled, facilitated or profited from the construction and growth of settlements.”

Lord Mayor hopes motion will put pressure towards a ceasefire

The motion, supported by Lord Mayor Clover Moore and her team of Independents, passed eight votes to two.

The Lord Mayor said, “Now, more than ever, we must use our voices to call for peace.”

“If the city’s voice in this campaign can put additional pressure towards a ceasefire and an end to the humanitarian crisis, then I think we should carefully review our investments and suppliers.”

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, who put forward the motion, described it as a “crucial first step.”

“This council has a strong investments policy that commits us not to invest in activities that involve the abuse of human rights or weapons,” said Cr Ellsmore.

“Boycotts work because they send an important message to governments and companies about our values. And they work because they remove real, tangible, financial support to those perpurtate violence and oppression.”

Liberal Councillor Lyndon Gannon, who opposed the motion, described it as “needlessly divisive”.

“At a time when antisemitism is going through the roof in this country it was an incredibly irresponsible thing to do,” he told City Hub. 

“We are a local government, not the UN,” he added.

“When I have Jewish mothers calling me in tears because they’re scared to send their kids to school in uniform for fear of being attacked, I know antisemitism is rife.”

Council has consistently advocated for ceasefire

The City of Sydney was one of the first councils to call for a ceasefire in Australia, with a Greens motion put into place in December 2023 in support of a ceasefire and a vote cast in support of peace in October 2023.

In 2023, the City of Sydney undertook an investment policy to avoid investments that could involve socially harmful activities including the abuse of Human Rights and Labour Rights, bribery, production or supply of armaments and the manufacturing of tobacco, alcohol, or gambling products.

City of Sydney is now one of Australia’s largest councils making the effort to move towards divestment of suppliers and company investments that profit from or are complicit with these weapons on human rights abuses by the State of Israel throughout occupied Palestinian Territory.

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